The launch party – Chapter 8 of our #Eurovision novel

Continuing our serialisation of What’s The Deal With Europe?  The novel that inspired the comedy movie Transatlantic Smash.

8 – THE LAUNCH PARTY

Michael jumped at the chance of being a proper manager.  Not that he’d ever own up to the fact that he wasn’t a proper manager before, but being honest this was his opportunity to lead someone to the big time; something that he hadn’t achieved before.  The last band he’d worked with was called Soft Sell-out, a Soft Cell covers band, so Taurus were a couple of hundred steps above them in the quality (and potential) stakes.

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His first declaration was that he could turn Taurus into the biggest band to ever come out of York.  That wouldn’t be hard though.  Until then the biggest band to come out of York had been Shed Seven.

Anyway, Michael decided that the first step to sending Taurus on their way to becoming York’s premier band, would be a launch party.  And what a great move it would turn out to be.  It’s funny how things that should seem so simple and obvious can easily get overlooked in the grand scheme.  Ok, so Taurus had already had a first gig, but who really cares?  The boys needed a proper launch and this would be a great boost and focus for them at a time where they had been really struggling for a next move.

“So how much money have you got in the band kitty then?” Michael asked.  Cue shifty body movements and glazed looks from the band.  Even I was feeling a little awkward, already knowing what the answer would be.  That’s right, the answer was nothing.  There was no such thing as a band kitty.

Being fair to them, they hadn’t really had any opportunities to raise money so far.  There had been plenty of song writing sessions, plenty of propaganda exercises, plenty of parties, but only other peoples’ parties, not their own, and plenty of womanising to boot.  Unfortunately in all those pursuits there had not been an awful lot of money-raising. In fact I’d go as far as to say that all but the song-writing was tantamount to money-blowing rather than money-raising.

Let’s not forget at this juncture that they were all still students.  It’s only the fact that I was a student too, and that I cared more about my academic work and my home-grown beard than some home-grown boyband, that it enabled me to keep that little fact in mind so easily.  (How that has changed now!)  The boys didn’t really care about their degrees.  They hadn’t done for a long time.  This project was far more important to them than any coursework, and they’d done about as much as they possibly could to shed their academic roots.  Remember Patrick’s Kwiksave story for example?
The reason why I’m mentioning this is that it plays a big part in the whole Taurus kitty scenario.  What kitty?  What money?  The guys didn’t have day jobs either.

Michael quickly came to the decision that Taurus not only needed to have a launch party, they needed it to be a fund raiser too.  They needed to raise as much as they could to be able to fund all future ventures.  And let’s not forget that they now had a manager skimming plenty off the top.  Oh yeah, Michael might well have been Ashley’s father, but he wasn’t doing this purely for love!

The guys would have loved to have hired out a really classy venue for the launch party, but it just wasn’t going to happen.  They say that you’ve got to speculate to accumulate, but if you’ve got nothing to speculate with, then somehow you’ve got to achieve your goal without the tinniest bit of speculation at all.  That’s how the party ended up being at our place.  A student house.  Suddenly, the roots they were trying to shed were coming back to haunt them.

The guys were starting to wonder whether getting Michael on board was the best move they could have made.  Why oh why hadn’t Tommy Boyd taken more of an interest?  Ashley in particular was really struggling with Michael making the decisions.  It’s hard enough for a man in his early twenties to have to put up with his father telling him what to do.  It’s harder still when you’re the one who was only doing this as a bit of escapism from your degree, and then suddenly you’re forced into a situation that brings you right back down to Earth with a bump.

In typical Patrick fashion, he very quickly pulled Ashley out of his despondency.  Patrick as usual saw this as an opportunity to be exploited and was able to sell the benefits to the others.  This could be their chance to become legends.  He seriously believed that if they did this right, this gig would go down in York folklore: The day that Taurus were truly introduced the world.

Attention to detail was what they needed if they were going to pull this off.  Patrick was even carrying me along on a wave of optimism.  Remember, I was still a bit of a sceptic at this point.  Everyone got involved in the planning and preparations and any ideas for raising money, no matter how ridiculous they seemed, were not ruled out. For example, before the party began, the guys put a pot in the hallway along with a sign saying the following:

Please donate to mine victims. Your generous contributions go to help the poor, unfortunate, victims of mine disability.  Jenna Jameson and many others of the famous stars of the Porn industry suffer from the terrible consequences of stepping on mines.  To use Jenna as an example, she has suffered the misfortune of a mine accident.  Her legs are now at right angles to her body and she has lost her clothes.  Please donate kindly and you can help other porn stars like Jenna, whose legs are always wide open due to these kind of disasters.

On second thoughts don’t, otherwise Taurus won’t be able to get cheap thrills.  Don’t donate to mine victims, donate to the porn industry, a much more worthy cause.  Send us some money…or just your dirty mags and videos.

And as it so happens, it actually worked as a bizarre little money raiser.  Those that only skim read the first line or so put money in the pot thinking that the gig was actually for charity, and those that bothered to read the whole thing put money in because they enjoyed the joke.  It was a win-win situation.

The party also had a theme.  With the purpose of the party being to launch a boyband, it seemed quite fitting that the theme of the party should be boybands and girlbands.  All those invited were instructed to wear outfits to make them look like members of their favourite pop group.

Some people put in a good effort with their costumes. There was a Scary Spice.  There was Boy George.  There was a Posh Spice who was actually a bloke in drag (scarily convincing actually).

Some people put in minimal or no effort with their costumes.  There was a group of five girls who turned up in black trousers and black vests who insisted they were Take That.  That was a poor attempt.  They were more like Westlife really.

Some people put in an incredible effort.  Well, one guy actually.  His name was Gavin, who turned up as Atomic Kitten all by himself.  He was wearing a cat costume with a massive cotton-wool mushroom cloud on his head.  Priceless.  I bet Boyzone never had anyone at their launch party looking like that!

The party went down a storm. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and were really into Taurus who performed a stunning first official rendition of ‘What’s the deal with Europe’.
It was an incredibly tight performance and Ashley’s choreography was the icing on an already sweet cake.  The audience had no idea how nervous the guys had been before their defining performance.  I went to take a leak and caught the three of them stood round the bowl, peeing in unison in some kind of Boyband bonding ritual.  It was an unorthodox relaxation technique that seemed to work for them.  I can’t personally vouch for the success of this method as I’ve never been able to persuade two other guys to try it with me!

When Taurus finished performing, they were able to relax a bit more and they were able to soak up the praise whilst soaking up the beer.  They were not the only ones who soaked up the beer though.

One of the party’s attendees will go down in history as a hero of the Taurus Launch Party – actually a hero of any party – ever!  The guy in question, a fat man who had come as a hideous schoolgirl representation of Britney, succeeded in breaking his body by riding my bike down the stairs whilst intoxicated on White Lightning cider!
The first time he tried, he fell off, unsurprisingly, and he may have broken his wrist.  Undeterred, he had another attempt. This time he buckled the bike’s front wheel.  He then had a final and almost fatal attempt.

No longer able to grip the handlebars firmly, he flew from the top of the stairs, all the way to the bottom, landing on his head.  “He’s dead!” exclaimed the onlookers.  According to some of his friends at the party, daring stunts had become somewhat of a regular spectator sport for them, as they were used to their mate going a little
Jackass on them.  This time though, he had gone a little too far.

Luckily, by the time the paramedics had arrived, he was sitting up, although slightly worse for wear. He was half naked (apparently daft stunts are more authentic when performed topless to the theme tune of ‘The Final Countdown’), his face had an unsightly carpet burn and he’d also suffered many cuts and grazes. When asked by the paramedic to open his eyes, he opened his mouth.

He’s a man mountain that should live on in the hearts of all those that witnessed the event, his friends, his colleagues, the nurses at York District Hospital, Taurus fans and anyone not fortunate enough to have met the guy.  I wasn’t even fortunate enough to get his name, despite the fact that he trashed my bike.  It was a worthy sacrifice and far more Rock and Roll than throwing my TV out of the window, which thankfully never happened.  Although Patrick did throw some of my bottles of vintage wine out of the window.  Bastard.

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